These are the true-life adventures and experiences of Joseph and Vera
Buck who lived and worked in Cuba from 1917 through 1922.
Joseph F. Buck, my grandfather, was appointed to a Consular position in Cuba, March of 1917, after having served as the U.S. Consul to
Bremerhaven, Germany for five years.
This story begins as his pretty, young bride of three months, Vera
Elizabeth Buck, my grandmother, joins him in Antilla, Cuba, January of
1919. They kept an excellent journal of all their experiences while they
were in Cuba, and, at some point, Vera, I am sure with Josephs help,
began converting their records into an historical narrative for posterity. She
turned a rough, unfinished draft of her work over to the University of
Michigan, Bentley Library, sometime in the 1960s. In a brilliant, far-sighted
move, my grandmother stipulated that the copyrights remain in the family
in regards to everything she donated to this library. I am her only
grandchild and am therefore able to bring these valuable, historic accounts
to light for the first time.
Meanwhile, my grandfather, Joseph F. Buck, had died of tuberculosis,
September 14th, 1942, three years before I was born. My mother died six
months after I was born and my grandmother, the author of this book,
passed away in 1971 without ever telling me anything about it at all. The
reason for this miscommunication was that I was raised 800 miles away
from my grandmother and, unfortunately, not able to get to know her until
she was in her seventies. I stumbled upon the rough draft of this book
purely by the Grace of God while I was doing research on Joseph F. Buck,
my grandfather, for a future book of his WWI experiences. All the places,
dates, events, presidents, buildings, wildlife, boats, railroads, etc., have
been researched and verified to the best of my ability and footnoted
accordingly. The tales of Nico and Giva are both based upon factual history
as supported by Joseph Bucks filed reports with the State Department,
now on record in the National Archives, College Park, Maryland.
Our family project that was started by my grandparents eighty five years
ago (this being the year 2002) has now been completed! This has truly been
a labor of love and I will advise anyone who is contemplating doing
something like this to go ahead and give it a try, even though it can be
pretty tough going at times. To complete a family project for your loved
ones who died before they were able to finish it, has got to be one of the
most rewarding things in life any one of us could ever hope to accomplish.
Acknowledgments and gratitude must also be expressed to the White
Pine Village, Ludington, Michigan for preserving my grandparents records
documents and articles for all these years that my grandparents had
donated to the Mason County Historical Society, and for all their kind,
invaluable assistance and support.
You will notice throughout the book that Joseph refers to Vera as
Julie. Why? Because my grandparents were both very romantic, so
during their long engagement necessitated by WWI, they had to make do
with a whole lot of letter writing back and forth across the Atlantic Ocean.
They referred to each other as Romie and Julie (Romeo and Juliet) to
help keep romance alive throughout this long ordeal. My grandfather cared
so deeply for my grandmother that the pet name, Julie, stuck even after
they were married in 1918. Vera certainly didnt mind as she felt the same
way about him and their house was a house of love, indeed! I plan on
publishing a series of some of those letters at a later date along with my
grandfathers experiences from WWI as they are not only romantic
masterpieces but quite historically relevant as well.
Let us now return to a time long ago in a land that was much different
than it is today. We travel to. . . The Pearl of the Antilles - Cuba,
1917-1922, and -- The Consul's Wife.